Innovative IBM training programme set to benefit UK veterans and employers

AN INNOVATIVE learning program, designed specifically to help learners achieve employment-focussed goals, is set to benefit veterans and employers throughout the UK.

IBM’s SkillsBuild programme, which featured at the company’s Think Summit London this week, will equip learners and jobseekers with the skills they need to move into new careers in high-demand industries including cyber security, AI and web development.

SaluteMyJob managing director, Andrew Jackson, said the programme would help former Service men and women navigate their way successfully into their second civilian careers.

“One of the ways to bridge the gap between prospective employer and jobseeker is to enable him or her to realign their military knowledge, skills and experience for relevant roles, such as Information Security in the wider public and private sector,” he said. 

“It's not enough to chuck jobs at military people, most of whom have never worked in the private sector and don't understand how their transferable skills will add value - we need more intelligent interventions.

“Today we're celebrating the success of 350 transitioning and former Service men and women who have completed a reskilling and employment programme to help them into employment in cyber security roles; around 75 per cent have found such employment. The programme is delivered at no cost to the jobseeker through a partnership between IBM, SaluteMyJob, and the Corsham Institute.

“We now have an enviable challenge in aligning a growing interest from both ex-military jobseekers and employers and an appetite for a wider choice of facilitated and supported training. SkillsBuild will offer exactly what veterans need to develop deeper skills or to learn other employment-related skills.”

Bill Kelleher, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland, said the new programme could change the way both employers and learners thought about training.
”Around the globe, new technologies are rapidly transforming the world of work, and – as a result, the skillsets people need to be successful. To ensure an inclusive workforce, we must change the way we think about both traditional education and vocational learning. Unaddressed, a mismatch in tools and talent can result in a pronounced skills gap, directly affecting a country’s ability to compete on the international stage. 

“We have seen this first-hand in the UK in recent years. A 2019 report from the government’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) concluded that factors like the speed of innovation, as well as the sheer volume of new technologies are impacting every business and every job role, and there is a gap in digital skills to meet business needs.  Digital skills are required in at least 82 percent of online advertised openings across the UK, but the precise skills demanded are not uniform across the country. For example, the capital region has the greatest demand with 87 percent of advertised roles, spread across almost all sectors while the West Midlands has a slightly lower demand at 82 percent of roles, but the well-developed manufacturing sector means that machining and engineering software skills are required in 24 percent of those roles in the West Midlands.  

“This is why I am delighted that IBM in the U.K. is launching its SkillsBuild programme. This new programme, which features a digital platform integrated with hands-on supports, is specifically designed to help veterans, adults who are unemployed or changing careers, including refugees, women returning to work and asylum seekers, develop the technical and professional skills needed for competitive “new collar” jobs. The platform is deployed with support by charities and NGOs including Salute My Job and City Gateway. IBM Volunteers along with these organisations will offer learners personalised coaching and experiential learning opportunities which bring to life the online training, setting SkillsBuild apart from other training platforms. “